UK signals Africa policy shift

first_img6 December 2007A recent speech by Britain’s new Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, signals an important shift away from a patronising, development-centric approach to Africa to a foreign policy which balances development with substantial new policy components.Malloch-Brown’s speech, reproduced in full below, was given to the Royal African Society in London on 28 November 2007.BRITAIN’S AFRICA POLICYKeynote SpeechRoyal Africa Society Autumn ReceptionMark Malloch-BrownThis evening, I want to ask a provocative question. We have a development policy for Africa; is it time that the UK also had a foreign policy for Africa?Of course, we already do. The FCO is intensely engaged through our High Commissions and Embassies across Africa as well as here in London, and at the EU, UN and the IFIs, in addressing a range of bilateral and regional issues. And I have ministerial responsibility for this.Nevertheless, the prevailing view of Africa from the famine of the 1970s to Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa has been the need for an internationally supported development strategy to tackle a stubborn and growing poverty, a staggering HIV, malaria and malnutrition driven health crisis, state breakdown in the DRC, Sierra Leone, Liberia and elsewhere weak governance and low growth.We have come to accept and talk about Africa as the problem child of the global family – stuck in its corner, inert in its poverty and isolated from the waves of global change and integration that are lifting up so many parts of Asia and Latin America.Half full or half empty?Now in an audience like this, there is nobody I suspect who does not juggle glass half-full and half-empty assessments of Africa. We even have terms for it: Afro-pessimism and optimism.However, striking growth rates in a growing number of countries, a higher rate for the region as a whole than for Europe, rising energy-related investment, the beginnings of a Chinese-inspired infrastructure boom, dramatically improved governance and economic policy making, all reflect change in Africa.But I am not sure our policies towards the region have kept up. We, experts, may be too close to it to have stood back and taken stock of what this change adds up to. We may have missed the big picture as much as others have.The relative stasis of long-term development, when changes in poverty rates move forward only gradually over decades, is now joined by a host of change-related challenges that Africa must manage and which we as partners and neighbours have a strong national interest in seeing successfully handled. And which for Africa offers the prospect for either much more rapid and sustained development, or new growing threats to stability if uneven growth between and enclave-like energy-related sector and the rest of the economy leads to increased inequality, conflicts over control of resources, further environmental degradation, growing illegal immigration and other issues.Put at its starkest, will the dramatic improvements Africa has made in recent years in the quality of its political leadership, governance, economic policy making and basic services provision, allow it to ride out the challenges of growth?Purpose-built to pull their societies out of poverty, new governmental institutions are now in many cases facing the more enviable, but as dangerous, challenge of managing growth. And we have all got an immediate interest in their continuing success.In fact, my message today does not neatly fall into either the pessimist or the optimist camp. Because change brings its own threat – unequal development, the resource curse of corruption, environmental over-burdening, and instability. Asia is an economic success story, but the number of environmental disasters has quadrupled and there are widening issues of political stability in South Asia.And nor is Africa a story of simple straight-forward story of progress. Darfur remains as much at risk as ever, Zimbabwe is locked in a frightening cycle of self-imposed failure and there are reports of more than a million internally displaced in Somalia.A dramatic change in the possibilitiesYet in parts there is real success and progress. The unprecedented growth rates in some African countries are mirrored by unprecedented interest from foreign and domestic investors.This is resulting in real opportunity for many African countries. Tanzania, although still an extremely poor country, has had growth of 5-6% since 2000 and is looking at projected 7-8% growth in the next few years. The story is the same in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sierra Leone to take three countries associated with enduring poverty, where economic growth has averaged more than 6% in the last four years and with predictions of strong growth in coming years.We are witnessing a dramatic change in the possibilities that are on offer to African countries.The partly energy-led boom is turning heads in the international business community. Traditionally the oil/gas sectors have provided low employment, and historically governments have not used these revenues well. But there are some reasons to be more hopeful that this boom could result in more durable economic development:There is now evidence of better management of tax revenues – for instance Nigeria has new legislation on fiscal responsibility and public procurement, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is being taken up by more countries.There is growth in related sectors. It is not just energy sectors that are benefiting, but also exporters of other commodities for instance Guinea for aluminium, Namibia for diamonds, and Zambia for copper.Primary commodities, though, still account for about 80% of total African export receipts. The majority of African countries still rely on one or two primary commodities for at least half their foreign exchange earnings.Increased demand in international markets boosts national revenues, but at the moment they do not gain the richer rewards and more stable income that would come from being involved the later stages of the value chain, let alone the benefits of a more diverse economy.Oil and gas is leading the boom but the circle is widening, as economies are diversifying on the back of energy investments. We are seeing the growth of financial services sectors in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and of course South Africa, to support these new investments.Also, the telecommunications boom in Africa seems to keep on going. There are over 200 million mobile phone users in Africa, and the assessment is that this is still nowhere near saturation. The GSM Association, the global trade association that represents some 700 mobile operators across the world, recently announced that its members will invest £25-billion in Sub Saharan Africa over the next five years.If we take the example of Nigeria, the economy has been driven by non-oil growth rates above 7% for the last four years, in other words, economy minus oil. Agriculture has played an important role, although there is still a need for increased productivity to accompany greater land usage.Meanwhile, the liberalisation of the GSM industry has helped increase exponentially access to telecoms services to 45-million subscribers – I remember just a few years ago no phone coverage in Nigeria – helping to drive growth directly, and also reducing constraints to business in other sectors.A major foreign policy challengeAll this adds up to a major foreign policy challenge. So where is the UK interest in this picture of continuing challenges and new opportunities? And why does this matter?Poverty and inequality in many African countries will be with us for many, many years to come. These are not problems that can be resolved quickly. For us in the UK – this is where the Department for International Development has taken an important lead.The UK is setting the pace on reaching ODA targets, and is usually in the top five bilateral donors in many African countries. We were last year the world’s second biggest aid donor – although I should note this is significantly because of debt relief.On a country level, we are the biggest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid in DRC, and the biggest bilateral donor over all in Ghana and Tanzania. In many countries such as Ethiopia we are signing up to multi-year committments. The Commonwealth committed to multi-year primary education plans for at least 20 of its members by the end of 2008. Forty-five percent of kids in the world not yet going to school live in a Commonwealth country, so there’s quite a way to go there.So, a basic overall positive aid record.I hope the EU Africa summit taking place in Lisbon from 8 to 9 December will agree specific co-operation between EU and African countries to help get Africa back on track for its MDG UN Millennium Development Goal targets. The PM has launched a Call to Action on the MDGs and will follow up with a summit in New York next year.And let me be clear, whatever the business prospects for Africa, a sustained high-level of international funding for MDG targets of poverty reduction, health, education and the environment is an indispensable responsibility for the foreseeable future. Overall progress in Africa towards the MDGs is still going in a negative direction.Yet we see genuine economic opportunities start to open up for a number of African countries that could underpin their development and provide them with new choices, the need to fix problems of governance, conflict and instability becomes more urgent. If African countries do not tackle these problems then they will increase inequalities and undermine growth.Many African countries have reached a fork in the road:Growing riches, responsibly taxed, and used to plough back into a country’s growth and development – for instance used to help educate the next generation – could and should mean that some African countries will see a different future on the horizon.But growing riches – kept amongst a small, corrupt elite, or siphoned out of the country, or diverted to fund war or terrorism, as has happened with earlier resource booms in the continent – will not only snatch away the prospect of a different future for African countries, but will also deepen and intensify instability where we see it already, and we have seen this in some countries. In an ever more closely interlinked world, this is a dangerous prospect for those in the West.This fork in the road presents us with some major strategic questions that add up to a very serious foreign policy challenge. You could boil it down to this: do we want a stable, or can we afford an unstable, partner in Africa?Threats and opportunities for the UKForeign policy on Africa needs to be built around these new challenges. The Prime Minister has spoken of “hard-headed internationalism”. Let me apply this approach to Africa.The UK should lead in helping to tackle poverty and inequality – because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it is in Britain’s domestic interest to do so. A key element of the agenda for the AU-EU Summit is development, and it is what I have in mind when I talk of a new policy.This is much more than development – this is “development plus”. The summit agenda is divided into the following topics:Governance and human rightsPeace and securityMigrationEnergy and climate changeTrade, infrastructure and developmentLet me elaborate on some of these to highlight their importance to EU policy.MigrationYou have only to look at the pictures of African illegal migrants washed up on the beaches of Spain this summer after harrowing and life threatening journeys, or of Somalis last week, to see the dramatic intersection between the need to promote development in African countries, and the effect on domestic European policies.These pictures don’t show the scale of migration flows between and to African countries. The OECD official figures estimated in 2000 that nearly a million people in the UK were born in Africa.So we must develop a more effective co-operation with African partners on managing migration flows for our mutual benefit.The challenge is to make sure that managed migration is a positive thing for the country of origin, the receiving country and the migrant him or herself – migration can allow the exchange of skills and expertise, and it can boost economic development through the power of remittances.But it’s not an easy issue. African countries complain that European countries should focus less on securing their borders against migrants and more on helping to create the conditions in Africa that will make young people want to stay at home. They also complain that Europe steals the trained talent, depriving African countries of nurses, doctors and business people. The government of Malawi estimates that two out of every three doctors trained in Malawi move elsewhere in search of better prospects.A House of Lords colleague of mine, Nigel Crisp, is doing interesting work. He leads a WHO-linked taskforce to see how we can contain the flow of skilled medical workers to the UK and elsewhere.Our response to migration is in part about keeping our borders secure, but we also need to address the issue at source by helping create the conditions that will give more opportunities at home.Tackling these issues requires long term commitments to promoting sustainable development: so that ultimately migration is a voluntary and informed choice. A huge issue, with a lot of policy making and discussions to be had between the EU and Africa.EnergyLet me now turn to energy. Africa’s boom is being led by the world’s search for energy and resources. At present African countries make up a relatively small part of the global energy picture: only Nigeria ranks in the world’s top 20 for oil reserves – but this will change.Countries in Africa with proved reserves of oil are: Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire.Countries in Africa with proved reserves of natural gas: Nigeria, Mozambique, Cameroon, Congo, Sudan, Namibia, Angola, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire.Countries such as Ghana and Uganda have found oil and are starting to explore whether these finds are commercially viable. Helping countries manage this new asset in a way that prevents corruption and the curse of oil wealth that many have suffered from, and encourages transparency of revenue management, is vital. The EITI is a first step and we need to draw non-western oil companies in.But we also need to press for more internal disclosure of government use of oil revenues. It is the absence of that disclosure by the Nigerian government that has contributed to the problems in the Delta.We also have an interest in building our dialogue with African countries on access to clean energy. We have two good opportunities to do this in December. The EU Africa summit will I hope lead to more co-operation on energy and also on adaptation to climate change which is already affecting African countries. Nick Stern argued this cost of climate change to African countries at our RAS breakfast a few weeks ago. And African countries have an important part to play in adding their voices to the international debate on climate change at Bali.Crime and counter-terrorismThe third area where Africa is important to UK interests is crime and counter-terrorism. Unfortunately a priority of UK policy abroad these days. The social cost of drugs to the UK economy has been estimated as £5-billion – and a third of the hard drugs in the UK arrive via Africa. Cocaine trafficking from West Africa, principally through Nigeria and Ghana is rapidly increasing.Co-operation between British police and counterparts in Ghana has seen some successes in impeding the West African drug route. And £44.5-million of Nigerian assets in the UK have been frozen by the Metropolitan police to date in crack downs on financial crime and corruption.Some of the terrorists who sadly took part in the bombings in London in July 2005 were originally from Somalia, Eritrea and Ghana. Africa has not seen the levels of radicalisation that other parts of the world have, but instability and radicalisation have been the children of oil driven growth in societies with gross inequalities of wealth and power.There are good security reasons for wanting to see more equitable development in Africa and as a result reduce the numbers of unemployed poor youth and other groups.These headline areas show why it matters directly to the UK if African states succeed or fail. Terrorism and crime, migration, a clean environment and climate change in Africa are issues that are critical to the UK national interest.Good Governance underpins it allThe growth rates in Africa offer new hope that many countries can turn the corner. But as long as we have broken states – like Zimbabwe, and chronic instability – like eastern Congo, and as long as we have African governments that regard national budgets as personal resources – the opportunities I’ve been talking about still have the risk of melting away.Which is why the key foreign policy challenge is to encourage and promote good governance and help African governments tackle insecurity, conflict and instability.How can we do this?I can see six important roles for UK foreign policy in Africa.Reinforcing successWe can reinforce success in individual countries. That means political engagement with reforming governments to bolster success. Ghana and Kenya both feature in the World Bank’s “top 10 reformers” this year for making it easier to do business. Ghana has got rid of bottlenecks in property registration, reducing delays from six months to one. Kenya launched an ambitious licensing reform programme eliminating over 100 business licenses which has made it much easier to start a business.Supporting regional institutionsWe can support regional African institutions to become stronger and better advocates for stability. The African Union (AU) brings together 53 diverse nations. It has been a remarkable organisation in the last few years. It has set up a Peace and Security Council which has deployed mediators to trouble spots, and troops and police to Darfur, Burundi, Comoros and Somalia. It is increasingly providing a more coherent African voice on matters of global concern like climate change and trade. A Pan African Court is being established, and with Nepad, the African Peer Review Mechanism has taken forward a radical new approach to improving transparency and good governance.The old OAU’s decision in 1999 to suspend members where a democracy was overthrown was a critical move. Similarly this week at the Alexandria Library in Egypt I watched Africa honour its own as Mo Ibrahim and Kofi Annan awarded the first Ibrahim Award for African leadership to Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique. Mo reminded the African audience of politicians, officials, intellectuals, civil society activists and artists, that Gordon Brown, in unveiling the Nelson Mandela statue outside Parliament had described him – not Churchill or Roosevelt – as the Twentieth Century’s greatest leader. The mood in Alexandria was that Africa can do it.Working for effective multilateralismWe can work for effective multilateralism which underpins and encourages good governance and stability in Africa. This means working with our African partners through the UN. It also means using our membership of the EU to support positive developments in governance, and critically engage on issues of concern.And it also means engaging with China who can use their growing presence in Africa to promote sustainable development rather than renew levels of unsustainable debt. We have set up a bilateral dialogue on Africa with China – the FCO and DFID Africa Directors had a first set of talks in Beijing in the summer. I went there and gave a speech on China in Africa. We also have a dialogue with the Chinese through the EU.Helping in times of conflictAnd we can help not just when things are going well – in situations of conflict or tension, through the work of Embassies and High Commissions directly help influence and support African governments and key non-state actors – as they have been doing for example in Sudan, in Ethiopia, in the Great Lakes. We also are supporting African and UN peacekeepers and mediators.We are working with close partners on Darfur, say, like the US and Europe but also now China and Egypt on Darfur. International contact groups on Somalia, Great Lakes and Sudan help formulate concerted international action and bring pressure to bear on parties to the conflicts in ways that we couldn’t do alone.Supporting an effective civil societyWe can support an effective civil society. Civil society, including a free press will be the most important check on governance standards. I’m struck that the progressive voice in Africa is in civil society.Global partnersWe have partners that are already global partners. In South Africa, Nigeria and other countries – such as Tanzania and Ghana in their recent Security Council stints – we have allies not just for African but global issues.Africa is at a fork in the road. We want to help it make the right choices. If countries turn towards, democracy, towards accountable governance, with a strong civil society and a strong economy, African governments themselves will take the lion’s share of development and lift millions out of poverty. They will also become strong and valued partners in finding solutions to global challenges such as climate security or counter terrorism.By widening our views beyond development we are seeing an appetite for reform in all aspects of African society. Now we must work to ensure this becomes irreversible.I hope we can all seize this opportunity to build a progressive hard-headed foreign policy that makes sense here and in Africa as underpinning a great project in change management as Africa grapples with the opportunities and risks of change.Speech given to the Royal African Society, London, 28 November 2007last_img read more

South Africa tots up population wins

first_img24 July 2015Just over a week ago, on 14 July, UNAids released its report, How Aids Has Changed Everything – Meeting the MDG Targets.It said the world had met and exceeded the Aids targets of Millennium Development Goal Six, and was on track to end the Aids epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Among other nations, it spoke of South Africa as one of the countries that had made significant strides in halting and reversing the epidemic.Yesterday, Statistics South Africa added its research to the story. About one in 10 South Africans was living with HIV, it said in its mid-year population estimates report, published on 23 July.Speaking at its release in Pretoria, statistician-general Pali Lehohla said 6.19 million South Africans were living with the disease, out of an estimated total population of 54.95 million people, or 11.2%.The number of South Africans infected with HIV had increased by 2.17 million since 2002, when 4.02 million South Africans were HIV-positive. However, he said, infections were declining, with the incidence rate among people between the ages of 15 and 49 waning.A reduction of infections in people aged between 15 and 24 bore this out: in 2002, 6.75% of this group was infected with HIV, dropping to 5.59% in 2015.In addition, there had been a gradual drop in Aids-related deaths since 2002. In its mid-year report, Stats SA estimated that 531 965 people had died, with 162 445 of those being Aids-related, or 30.5%. In 2002, 44.6% of all deaths were Aids-related; this figure peaked in 2005 at 50.7%.Saved by treatmentUNAids said that the goal of 15 million people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2015 had been met nine months ahead of schedule. In 2014, the report showed that 83 countries, which accounted for 83% of all people living with HIV, had halted or reversed their epidemics, including countries with major epidemics, such as South Africa, India, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.“Countries that rapidly mounted robust responses to their epidemics saw impressive results. South Africa turned around its decline in life expectancy within 10 years, rising from 51 years in 2005 to 61 by the end of 2014, on the back of a massive increase in access to antiretroviral therapy,” UNAids said.“South Africa has the largest HIV treatment programme in the world, with more than 3.1 million people on antiretroviral therapy, funded almost entirely from domestic sources. In the last five years alone, AIDS-related deaths have declined by 58% in South Africa.”Life expectancy lengthensStats SA also looked at life expectancy. “We need to look at what progress is being achieved in demographics,” Lehohla said. “Life expectancy is increasing. That is the biggest demographic gain the world observes.”In Africa, life expectancy had increased by 20 years since the 1950s. In South Africa, average life expectancy in 2015 was 62.5 years, up 9.1 years since 2004. The average life expectancy for a South African male was 60.6 years, for a female it was 64.2 years.The increase in average life expectancy was matched by a drop in both the infant mortality rate and the children-under-five mortality rate. In 2002, the infant mortality rate was 51.2 babies per 1 000 live births; it peaked at 52 babies per 1 000 live births. In 2015, this number had dropped to 34.4 deaths per 1 000 live births.Similarly, in 2002, there were 77.2 deaths per 1 000 children among those under five, peaking at 79.1 in 2005. In 2015, this figure has dropped significantly to 45.1 deaths per 1 000 children.Meanwhile, Lehohla said, on average, South African women were having 2.55 children each since 2011, a drop from 2.79 in 2002. While Gauteng had the lowest birth rate in South Africa, it was the country’s most populated province, with 13.2 million people – 24% of the country’s total population.Turning to population, Stats SA said the country’s population had grown 1.65% from 2014 to 2015, compared with 1.28% from 2002 to 2003. The natural rate of the increase was 1.3% in 2015, with the remainder being made up by migration.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

After loss to Creamline in finals, Motolite-Ateneo focuses on UAAP

first_imgChief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion There was something that helped pull Motolite-Ateneo out of its funk after losing the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference championship series to powerhouse Creamline.The Lady Eagles had already achieved what they had set out to do in the first place.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Motolite-Ateneo was using the tournament as preparation for the UAAP women’s volleyball wars and coach Oliver Almadro kept remindinghis players that it wasn’t the results that mattered, but the learning they drew from playing against tough club teams.And one of those lessons was to keep fighting regardless of the hurdles facing the squad.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief“I told the players, ‘Let’s not give up even if the odds are against us. We should never give up,’” said Almadro.That philosophy guided Motolite-Ateneo to several huge wins in the tournament, including in the semifinals where the Lady Eagles thwarted a more experienced BanKo-Perlas. LATEST STORIES Sotto’s absence shines light on FEU’s Abarrientos But the Lady Eagles simply ran out of ammunition against the Cool Smashers, who were led by the ultra-talented Alyssa Valdez.Almadro and the Lady Eagles are now setting their sights on the UAAP, where they should be among the favorites after their stint in the PVL.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Cascarino Hazard disrespected the false nine role

first_imgEx-Chelsea star Tony Cascarino believes Eden Hazard had no regard for team play in their 2-1 win over Newcastle on SaturdayManager Maurizio Sarri again opted to start Hazard in a “false nine” role at Stamford Bridge due to Chelsea’s current struggles up front.The Italian’s bold move has paid off over recent games with Hazard proving to be a capable centre-forward.But the Belgian’s showing over the weekend left one old Chelsea striker irritated, despite providing Willian with the assist for the match-winning goal.“I went to Chelsea on Saturday and Eden Hazard disrespected the false nine role,” Cascarino wrote on The Times.“He was flicking everything that came his way with no regard for team play.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedSolskjaer praises Harry Maguire after Man United’s 1-0 win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer singled out Harry Maguire for praise after helping Manchester United keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Leicester City.“He’s normally the one running on to the flicks but when you are asked to do a job for the team, do it properly.“He’s a wonderful player but I wasn’t impressed, it was like a Harlem Globetrotters approach.”Cascarino also added that it’s necessary that Sarri resolves Chelsea’s problems in attack with AC Milan loanee Gonzalo Higuain being linked with a move this month.He added: “There’s no way it’s [Hazard as a false nine] a long-term solution for Maurizio Sarri.“They need to get a central striker in quickly.”Chelsea will travel to the Emirates Stadium this Saturday to face London rivals Arsenal in the Premier League.last_img read more

Toyota will invest 749 million in US production report says

first_img Tags 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: A tougher looking electrified crossover Share your voice 2019 Lexus LS 500h review: Full-size hybrid offers luxury with tradeoffs 2019 Mercedes-Benz S560e: Luxury cruising with an electric edge Toyota Lexus More From Roadshow 2018 Honda Accord: Turbo engines, sharper design and more spacecenter_img Lexus Toyota Comment Car Industry Hybrids 1 62 Photos Enlarge ImageToyota’s factories in Alabama and Kentucky are about to get a big cash injection from HQ in order to offset potential tariffs. Toyota Toyota has big plans in America, and to accomplish them it will be investing $749 million into its various US manufacturing facilities in addition to creating jobs for 586 people according to a report published Thursday by Reuters.What could Toyota be planning that would have it ready to whip its checkbook out for a significant chunk of a billion greenbacks? More hybrids. Duh. This is Toyota we’re talking about, so of course it’s more hybrids. It also plans to ramp up its US-based engine production, presumably to help with that whole “more hybrids” thing.But, business being business and politics being what they are right now, it also seems likely that Toyota’s expansion of its US production is a show of allegiance to the powers that be in hopes of staving off increased tariffs on the goods that it imports from Japan. As The Dude says, “You gotta feed the monkey, man.”Keep in mind that Toyota and Mazda announced last year that they’d be teaming up on a $1.6 billion plant in Alabama and way back in 2017, it pledged to invest $10 billion by 2022. It then bumped that number recently by an additional $3 billion, of which Thursday’s announcement is a part.Toyota committed to putting the money from Thursday’s announcement toward an additional 230,000 engines’ worth of capacity at its current Alabama plant by the end of 2021, and it will also add new four- and six-cylinder engine lines to the factory. The plant in Kentucky will get a cash infusion to help it build Lexus ES and RAV4 hybrids.Toyota boss Akio Toyoda is set to give a speech in Washington, DC on Friday where presumably he’ll flaunt that sweet $13 billion figure, and we only hope he’s invested sufficiently in air horns and engaged the services of a qualified hype man on his behalf.Toyota didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.last_img read more